Doctors, Nurses Caught Red-Handed In $712 Million Medicare Fraud Crackdown
Over the years, medical professionals from around the country egregiously billed Medicare a total of $712 million for unnecessary patient care. Imagine those doctors’ faces when the feds slapped them with a costly bill of their own, according to CNN Money, for their fraudulent acts.
This week, the Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI) cuffed 46 medical professionals around the country. In total, nearly 250 medical professionals from 17 cities were arrested for what is now dubbed the biggest Medicare fraud takedown ever, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced.
In one particularly outrageous case, four people are accused of needlessly sending a talking glucose monitor to patients who did not require or request them, then they billed Medicare more than $22 million for it.
The FBI also pointed out common crooked practices that were executed by these medical professionals:
“In many cases, patient recruiters, Medicare beneficiaries and other co-conspirators allegedly were paid cash kickbacks in return for supplying beneficiary information to providers, so that the providers could then submit fraudulent bills to Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary or never performed.”
Florida saw the highest number of charged individuals for the Medicare bust — 73 to be exact. The southern state racked up $263 million in bogus billings. In one case, between 2006 and 2012, mental health administrators billed Medicare a whopping $64 million for unnecessary intensive treatment.
Texas comes in second with 29 defendants allegedly involved in Medicare fraud. The FBI notes that one case involves a company exaggerating the length of physician visits; when a patient only stayed for 15 minutes, Medicare would be billed as if the patient stayed for more than an hour.
“Health care fraud drives up health care costs, wastes taxpayer money, undermines the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and endangers program beneficiaries,” said Inspector General Levinson.
Levinson added that the Medicare bust included cases of prescription drug fraud, personal care services fraud, and home health care fraud, which he says are “harmful” to the health care system.
“They billed for equipment that wasn’t provided, for care that wasn’t needed and for services that weren’t rendered,” Lynch said. “In the days ahead, the Department of Justice will continue our focus on preventing wrongdoing and prosecuting those whose criminal activity drives up medical costs and jeopardizes a system that our citizens trust with their lives.”
The defendants are charged with numerous health-care fraud related crimes, including money laundering, aggravated identity theft, violations of anti-kickback statutes and more.